Last week Lucas came home from school and told me about what he called "the white table" and asked if we could set a place at the table like that "for Dad on Veteran's Day."
I realized he was talking about the Missing Man Table and told him it was to represent the missing military members, so it wouldn't be a place setting for his dad. He asked if we could still set a place for dinner and I told him we could do that.
Tonight, just about the time that dinner was ready, Lucas came in to the kitchen and reminded me about the special place setting.
I was impressed with the details that he remembered: the red rose, a tipped over glass, salt on the plate.
I had to improvise a couple of things. We don't have a white tablecloth, so I used white paper under the plate. I didn't have a red rose, but I had a white one.
We made it work and had a place of honor and remembrance at our dinner table tonight. We talked to the kids about what it represented - the military service members who aren't home tonight with their families, who remain missing - and how thankful we are for the service members who have returned home safely.
Missing Man Table Honors and Ceremony
As you entered the room, you may have noticed a special table; it is reserved to honor our missing men.
Set for six, the empty chairs represent Americans who were or are
missing from each of the services – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force,
and Coast Guard – and civilians, all with us in spirit.
Some here were very young, or not yet born, when the Vietnam War
began; however, all Americans should never forget the brave men and
women who answered our Nation’s call and served the cause of freedom in a
Let me explain the meaning of this special table, and then join me for a moment of silent prayer at the end.
The table is round – to show our everlasting concern.
The cloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.
The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans….and
their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers.
The red ribbon symbolizes our continued determination to account for them.
A slice of lemon reminds us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.
The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith in our
country, founded as one nation under God, to sustain those lost from our
The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share a toast.
The chairs are empty – they are missing…………….. (silent moment)
Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America’s
POW/MIAs, to the success of our efforts to account for them, and to the
safety of all now serving our Nation!